Conor confident in conditioning, but Mendes believes wrestling will win at UFC 189
Despite his taking the UFC 189 interim featherweight title bout against Conor McGregor on short notice, neither Chad Mendes nor the Irishman seems to be putting much thought into the issue. During a recent media teleconference, both "Money" and "Notorious" addressed the topic of Mendes' extremely abbreviated training camp.
For his part, McGregor didn't seem to care whether Mendes' lack of specific preparation for this fight will work to his advantage. All the Dubliner says is that he will be ready.
"I have been in fight camp since I am 8 years of age. I am prepared for this," he said.
"I have been preparing for this moment for a long, long time. I don't really pay attention to how long he's had or how long he hasn't had."
Mendes maintained that, since he stays in the gym year-round, he'll be sharp and prepared to fight McGregor as Jose Aldo's replacement. "Everything is pretty much on track as if I had done a full training camp," he said.
"I don't stop training. I don't just go through a camp, fight, and then completely leave the gym and don't see it again until I'm ready to start camp, again. This is training year-round. This is our job. This is what we're made to do. This is what we do for our lives, and I love doing it. So, I felt ready. I've been training, I've been hitting it hard.
"I got the call three weeks out. At that point, it's just fine-tuning, getting that weight down. I don't get too far from my fight weight — 15 to 20 pounds max, you know? For me, when you get a call like that, you jump all over it, and I'll be ready."
If prep time won't be an issue, both men certainly feel that other factors will work in their own favor July 11. McGregor, for example, said Mendes is too small and will tire sooner than he will during their scheduled five-round championship fight.
"I just look at his past performances and I feel that he is in the wrong weight division," he said.
"I feel he gasses too quick. That's what I see happen. I see exchanges early. I see him gasping for air, and then I see me battering his face after that until I take the victory."
Mendes has confidence in his conditioning after having gone five hard, violent rounds with Aldo in the past. With his heart and lungs in order, Mendes sees the fight going his way because of his physical and technical tools.
"My striking is going to be there. Conor has never faced anyone like me," Mendes said.
"I have the athleticism, the strength, the power, the speed. And I have wrestling to put him on his back and finish this fight. This fight is mine."